Gov. Martinez proposes $112 million capital investment to NM water infrastructure

Gov Susana Martinez
From - By: Jorge Torres - The governor spoke today at the Rio Grande Nature Center to propose a capital investment in New Mexico's water infrastructure.
     The total proposal would be $112 million, which amounts to 60 percent of the outlay funding that will be available when the legislature convenes in January. 
     With many communities in New Mexico on the brink of a water shortage, the governor says the time to act is now.
     "While we cannot dictate the duration or the magnitude of the drought that we face, we can dictate our response. I'm proposing one of the largest investments ever made as a state in water infrastructure projects throughout New Mexico."
     Governor Martinez says the money should be used to improve state watersheds, provide repairs for communities that may go dry, and make critical repairs to dams.
     She considers water security a critical need for New Mexico communities, which is why she says that capital funds should be used to address those needs. More


Sec. of Education happy with stipend program

New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says the state is "off to a good start" with 15 teachers each approved to receive a $5,000 stipend for transferring from a top-graded school to a low-graded one. 

The teachers worked for the Las Cruces, Taos, Las Vegas City, Espanola, Estancia and Gallup school districts. 

Teachers qualifying for stipends must have worked full-time at schools with A or B grades last year and they must now teach full-time at schools with D or F grades. And they have to stay at the D-F school through the 2014-2015 school year. 

The state began the program in September but Skandera says all the teachers receiving the stipends had transferred before the announcement.


Gov. Martinez in AZ for GOP meeting

Gov. Martinez
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez plans to travel to Arizona this week for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. 

Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey said the governor leaves Tuesday for Phoenix and will attend a fundraiser that afternoon to benefit the Arizona Republican Party. 

The meeting of Republican governors ends Thursday, but McCleskey said the governor may stay longer to spend time with her husband, Chuck Franco, and his seriously ill aunt, who lives in Phoenix. 

The governors' group is paying for Martinez's travel. She serves on the executive committee of the organization, which helps elect GOP governors. 

The RGA was the top contributor to Martinez's 2010 campaign, giving about $1.3 million. 

A new RGA chairman will be elected at the meeting.


Officials question firing of Lottery CEO

Tom Romero
State lawmakers are questioning the sudden and mysterious firing of state lottery chief Tom Romero – and the golden parachute that seems to be coming his way in the form of severance pay. 

$265,000 is the amount the state still owes Romero under his contract that runs until August 2015. Lottery officials say they don’t owe that whole amount, but they won’t say how much Romero will get. 

Republican State Rep. Bill Rehm of Albuquerque has tried to ban golden parachutes like this one for years. 

Romero ran the lottery for eight years. He is a former police officer with the state Department of Public Safety.


ABQ abortion goes to vote today

Today voters in the city of Albuquerque will decide whether or not to ban late term abortions. 

It’s the first municipal election in the nation on abortion rights, and it's getting plenty of attention all over the country. National leaders on both sides of the issue have their eyes on Albuquerque, because cities may be the next battleground after decades of debate in Congress and state legislatures. 

Voting starts at 7 a.m. today at 50 voting locations around the city. Registered Albuquerque city voters with a photo I.D. will be able to vote at any of those locations.